Opening with a shaken, deeply regretful man being questioned in a cell to cut to the beginning of a stag trip, viewers could be forgiven for assuming a found-footage affair. Thankfully, we’re spared any POV; first-time feature writers Chris Hill and Sam Michell had something more ambitious in mind, bringing a simple, double-layered concept with a moralistic fable at heart. Ultimately, Bachelor Games falls flat due to a lack of commitment to its ideas, but the comedy stitches things together, albeit loosely.
“Come on, fuck face; it’s the rules.”
Immediately apparent is the good rapport between the actors; the men are believable as friends — even while occupying extremely blunt archetypes — helped along with naturalistic and very British dialogue. Also striking is the beautiful backdrop; shot on location in the Argentinian Andes, our group is conspicuous in their isolation and ripe for stalking by the Hunter, a local legend they learn of via several horror tropes thrown in for the hell of it.
Perhaps this is an unkind accusation. The writers of Bachelor Games clearly planned the supernatural element of their script to override an earlier (and, frankly, ridiculous) twist and take the film to full-blown horror territory. Unfortunately the first act ambles so long, that by the time secrets are revealed, there is no room for tension; underlying resentments are brushed over with just a few lines. Considering these divisions in the group bolster the story’s very raison d’être, this is disappointing. From here, Bachelor Games sprints to the finish line, etching its climax simplistically.
Criticisms aside, the film has charm. The humour in the script only slightly runs out of steam, while Edward McGown’s direction shows promise, Bachelor Games also his first feature. Had the script spent longer in development, a richer story would have been achieved, the foundations already present for an interesting take on local lore and morals.
8 July 2016